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Sega tops holiday, yearly sales projections; Sega Saturn installed base reaches 1.6 million in U.S., 7 million worldwide.

REDWOOD CITY, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jan. 13, 1997--Sega of America Monday announced that sales of its Sega Saturn video game console exceeded the company's 1996 projections delivering an installed base of 1.6 million in North America.

Worldwide Sega Saturn sales to date total more than 7 million units.

Sega Saturn game sales jumped 175 percent compared with 1995, totaling 5.5 million units of first- and third-party software sold in 1996 in North America.

"Strong titles and good value drove sales beyond our expectations this year, especially during the holidays, when retailers were reporting that Sega Saturn sales surpassed the competition by as much as 2-to-1," said Shoichiro Irimajiri, chairman and CEO, Sega of America.

"No other company can deliver the quality and quantity of games Sega brings to the market; this will be even more evident in 1997 as we make customer satisfaction our No. 1 priority."

Sega Saturn Sales

Sega sold 1.3 million Sega Saturn systems to retail in 1996, with 1.2 million selling through to consumers. Combined with the 400,000 systems sold through in 1995, the total installed base reached 1.6 million. The North American Sega Saturn installed base is expected to reach at least 1.7 million by the end of the company's fiscal year, March 31, 1997.

Sega's "three pack" promotion helped boost sales in December alone to more than 500,000 Sega Saturn units, up 300 percent over November sales. Under the promotion, consumers received three free arcade translation games ("Virtua Fighter 2," "Daytona USA" and "Virtua Cop") with the purchase of a Sega Saturn.

"The `three free' promotion is one of the most successful consumer initiatives for increasing hardware sales volume in Sega's history," said Ted Hoff, executive vice president of sales and marketing, Sega of America. "To keep the momentum going well into the new year, we're extending the promotion until March 31. Our research shows that once consumers play our games, they're hooked on Sega Saturn."

The promotion also includes coupons good for $5 off one game or $15 off any two Sega Saturn games. The coupon is good through Feb. 28.

During the promotion, software sales continued to rise as much as 400 percent from November to December, with games such as "Sonic 3D Blast," "NiGHTS" and exclusive arcade translations selling beyond projections. Sega sold 2.7 million first-party games, while third-party game sales reached 2.8 million, totaling 5.5 million Sega Saturn games purchased in 1996.

There are 214 games available for the Sega Saturn system -- more games than Sony PlayStation and Nintendo 64 combined offered in 1996.

Sega's game plan for 1997 includes expanding the Sega Saturn library with new arcade-to-home translations -- including the ground-breaking "Virtua Fighter 3" game -- a competitive sports lineup, new character games featuring Sonic the Hedgehog, and all the best third-party games.

"Of all next generation platform gamers, the Sega Saturn customer will have the best software lineup to choose from," said Bernie Stolar, executive vice president of product development, Sega of America. "Our customers can look forward to exclusive third-party titles and simultaneous game launches across the next generation consoles, in addition to more than 20 in-house hits we'll deliver in 1997."

Sega Genesis Sales

Sega Genesis remained a strong seller for hardware and software in 1996 for gamers just entering the category. Sega hit its projections on the mark, selling 1.1 million hardware units and 3 million Sega Genesis games.

While the company recently announced it will dispose of all remaining 16-bit peripheral inventory, specifically the Genesis 32X and Sega CD products, it will continue to sell Genesis hardware and software in the coming years.

Sega continues to produce new gaming experiences that push the Sega Genesis platform to new heights, including the first three dimensional 16-bit game, "Sonic 3D Blast," and the arcade hit, "Virtua Fighter 2," which shipped late last year.

Sega of America is the arm of Tokyo-based Sega Enterprises Ltd., responsible for the development, marketing and distribution of Sega video game systems and video games in the Americas.

Sega Enterprises is a nearly $3.6 billion company recognized as the industry leader in interactive digital entertainment media, and is the only company that offers interactive entertainment experiences both inside and outside the home. Sega of America's World Wide Web site is located at http://www.sega.com .

CONTACT: Dan Stevens

Sega of America

415/802-3996

dan.stevens@sega.com
COPYRIGHT 1997 Business Wire
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1997, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Jan 13, 1997
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